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So we have a 10 year old mare and we have had her for over a year now. She has always been a spook but no matter how much we work on anything she makes little to no progress on her stress level. She was extremely headshy when we got her and am just no being able to pet her head and face area with a positive response. When we ride tho she get so spooky and wants to bolt, this way and that. No matter how slow you try to take her and just try to walk circles in the arena, she will eventually get so stressed out you can't work her at all. She's been on a daily relaxer for a few months now. We don't know her past but we know she was neglected. Just looking for any advice for destressing her.
 

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I agree with @boots. Also, it seems that often a hotter nervous horse builds up when you try and keep them held up consistently. That doesn’t mean go and let her run away, but it means make her work a little harder; let her move. Trot little serpentines, practice roll backs on a fence, lope circles, and do lots of transitions. Get her a little tired, a little less reactive and more thoughtful.

Now, there are the occasional types of horses that work themselves up more and more with work, and get about impossible to deal with. They are not super common though. With those types ignoring their heat seems best and giving them a job to focus on.
 

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I completely agree with @Knave If you are just walking circcles in the arena, her mind is not engaged in this activity. Thus, she is off in her own mind, worrying about things. You must do enough that she does not have room to worry about outside things. go to the arena, get on, and immediately start trotting, and do all kinds of shapes, never repeating.. Just trot. no canter yet. but go, and go ad go and go.
 

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And add ground poles - they can’t see boogie man if they have to look where they are putting their feet. Introduce them from the ground first, at a walk.

What I also do is turn my mare out in the arena before a ride and ask her to run around - a lunging whip and a few loud smooches usually get them going. Obviously don’t tack her up before hand.

Also, get the vet out - see if there is any pain anywhere (ha! Easier said than done). Have her teeth, eyes and reproductive organs checked. And get a saddle fitter out. Pain can cause a horse to become spooky.
 

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So we have a 10 year old mare and we have had her for over a year now. She has always been a spook but no matter how much we work on anything she makes little to no progress on her stress level. She was extremely headshy when we got her and am just no being able to pet her head and face area with a positive response. When we ride tho she get so spooky and wants to bolt, this way and that. No matter how slow you try to take her and just try to walk circles in the arena, she will eventually get so stressed out you can't work her at all. She's been on a daily relaxer for a few months now. We don't know her past but we know she was neglected. Just looking for any advice for destressing her.
Are you able to ride out with someone that has a calm and steady confident horse? It can work wonders for a nervous Nelly to have another horse to follow (literally follow) until she becomes more confident. Doesn't always work, but some horses it really helps to build confidence when they see another of their kind just calm and in control.
 

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I’ll add to the list of good suggestions (sorry if I’ve repeated):

Diet considerations —she would probably benefit from a low energy feed program (eg grass hay, no grain save a supplement feed and the odd treat). As a side note I am unfamiliar with your calming supplement but does it have the potential to create something like ulcers or other internal irritants with long term use thus affecting her behaviour?

Turnout time — pasture is good so energy is expended walking around all day; corral isn’t quite as good but at least it’s outside time and an opportunity to survey the surroundings.

Consistency and routine — she could belong to that type of horse that needs daily use and work; I think that is probably one of the biggest non physical problems with the modern horse in that they are well fed and cared for (which is a good thing) but they just don’t get the long miles (and I’m not talking about hard gruelling work just a lot of time out and about doing stuff) put on them. I’ve had and have ones like that and I know it will not be a fun time for either of us if we don’t do a progressive steps program beforehand to set up for riding season.

Best of luck.
 

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What do you do when she spooks or bolts? Do you stop and look and halt and then walk slowly or do you pretend nothing happened? Are you tense and waiting for the explosion? Try to find a way to ride loose and try to exude confidence. If you see no danger, she should start seeing no danger. If she looks at something, that's ok, let her look for about 3 seconds and then carry on. If she spooked at a horse eating imaginary foe, then pretend it wasn't there and go about your business. And agreed with the long rides.
 
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